PPP asks govt to call south Punjab task force’s first meeting


Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Ali Haider Gilani hai asked the government to call the first official meeting of the task force formed for the creation of south Punjab province.

Speaking to a local media outlet outside the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Thursday, Gilani said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had promised to kick-start the process for the creation of a south Punjab province in its first 100 days of government. 39 days have passed but the first meeting of the task force is yet to be called, he added. The PPP lawmaker also said that his party had reservations about the inclusion of Makhdoom Khusro Pervez and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the task force.

On August 15, PTI lawmaker Mohammad Mohsin Leghari submitted a resolution seeking the federal government’s initiation of the process for the creation of a south Punjab province. PTI had added the creation of a south Punjab province in its manifesto in May this year.

Separately, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had also raised the issue in April. “We will make a separate province (out of south Punjab) and end the deprivation of this belt if you people support us,” he had told a political gathering in Multan.

PPP lawmaker Makhdoom Usman, referring to Bilawal’s remarks, called on the government to urgently hold a meeting of the task force. He said that other political parties should be shown the roadmap that PTI has come up with for the creation of the south Punjab province in the divisions of Bahawalpur, Multan and DG Khan.

According to Article 239 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the process of creating new provinces requires a two-thirds majority in separate votes in the two houses of parliament and then a further two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly of the affected province. Given the current party position of arch-rival parties in the parliament, as well as in the PA, the creation of the province has become a complex issue. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PPP, both a part of the opposition in Punjab and the centre, will not easily let the PTI have the credit of a new province despite the fact that both of the parties had already endorsed the cause of a new province in south Punjab.